Revisiting Disney History With The Best Retired Series
Let’s be honest, the Disney Channel has created some pretty epic shows over the years. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and over the last ten years we have had to say goodbye to the casts of some very memorable shows. We take a look at a few favorites from the Disney Channel that, after providing us with years of entertainment, have now entered retirement.
The show that propelled Hilary Duff into the spotlight; Lizzie McGuire kept us truly entertained for three years from 2001 to 2004. Elizabeth Brooke “Lizzie” McGuire was the main character of the show – a very clumsy teen who just wanted to fit in and be popular, and we watched with amusement as her animated alter-ego often displayed her true feelings! Lizzie’s two best friends, Miranda Isabella Sanchez and David “Gordo” Gordon were there for all the drama every step of the way, along with Lizzie’s younger brother Matt McGuire, with whom there was endless arguments. The series hit home for many preteens who found a kindred spirit in the often conflicted and misunderstood teens just trying to make it through middle school.
Disney Channel’s second-longest running series, Kim Possible first hit screens in 2002 and stuck around until 2007. The animated show was about the life of a teenage crime fighter, Kim, and her fight against her enemies, as well as her “normal” every day issues with school and family. Kim lived in what is supposed to be “any town, USA” named Middleton, although it is built around a thriving NASA-like Space Center with several supportive Science Labs. Viewers loved not only the main character, Kim voiced by Christy Carlson Romano of “Even Stevens” fame, but also her sidekick and best friend Ron Stoppable, voiced by Will Friedle of “Boy Meets World” fame. Not to mention the adorable naked mole rat that served as a pet, partner, and comedic relief.
That’s So Raven
This teen sitcom series was set in San Francisco and based around teenager Raven Baxter, played by Raven Simone, and her talent as a fashion designer, her psychic powers and her variety of disguises to get in and out of amusing adolescent and pre-adolescent situations. Along for the ride were her friends Eddie, played by Orlando Brown and Chelsea, played by Anneliese van der Pol. Her family members also played a prominent role in the series featuring her mother Tanya Baxter (T’Keyah Crystal Keyma) father (Rondell Sheridan) and brother Cory (Kyle Massey), who was the second main character. The show ran from 2003 until 2007 and received some of the highest ratings of any Disney Channel show. The series was also nominated for Emmy Awards in 2005 and 2007 for outstanding children’s programming.
Wizards of Waverley Place
Another supernatural teen sitcom, “Wizards of Waverley Place” helped bring international attention to the already growing star Selena Gomez and made her a Disney icon. The series followed Alexandra “Alex,” played by Gomez, Justin (David Henrie), and Maximillian “Max” (Jake T. Austin) – three siblings who were wizards with magical powers, competing to win sole custody of the family powers. We got to watch the adventures of the Italian-Mexican family, the Russo’s, over five years between 2007 and 2012. When it finished in 2012 it ended as the longest-running Disney Channel Original Series with 106 episodes over four seasons. Despite the show being canceled, a one hour television special was produced to conclude the series.
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
How could we forget the troublesome twins who lived in the Tipton Hotel? Centered around Zack and Cody Martin, played by Dylan and Cole Sprouse, the series was first broadcast on the Disney Channel in 2005. Other main characters included the Tipton Hotel’s ditzy heiress London Tipton (Brenda Song), the hotel’s candy counter girl Maddie Fitzpatrick (Ashley Tisdale), the hotel’s manager, Mr Moseby (Phill Lewis), and the boys’ single mother and one of the hotel’s nightclub performers, Carey (Kim Rhodes). Before it finished in 2008, the series was nominated for an Emmy Award on three occasions, and was also nominated for a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award three times.
Sonny with a Chance
Helping put another Disney icon on the map,”Sonny With A Chance” saw the rise of Demi Lovato as a talented actress as well as singer. Debuting at the beginning of 2009,the show was the first Disney Channel Original Series to be shot and aired in high-definition from the very beginning. The children’s sitcom followed the life and experiences of Sunny Munro, played by Lovato, who had become the newest cast member of her favorite live TV show, So Random! The series only ran for two years, and ended in February 2011 following Demi Lovato’s decision to leave the show.
The show that kick started Miley Cyrus’ career, and quite possibly one of the Disney Channel’s most popular shows, Hannah Montana first hit our screens back in 2006. The series spanned five years, over which time we watched as Miley Stewart (played by Miley Cyrus) lived a double life, split between being a normal teenage school girl and a famous pop star, Hannah Montana, with only her close friends and family knowing her true identity. Her brother, Jackson Stewart, was played by Jason Earles, while Miley’s two best friends, Lilly Truscott and Oliver Oken were played by Emily Osment and Mitchell Musso. Billy Ray Cyrus played the part of Miley Stewart’s father, making the show very similar to that of Miley Cyrus’ real life. The series was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program from 2007 through to 2010.
As I was editing this article, I noticed that two of my favorite retired television shows were not a part of this writer’s list. So, below are this editors additions to the best retired Disney channel series.
This fast-motion comedy series aired three seasons and a movie from June 2000 to June 2003. It follows the life of a typical family, the Stevenses, with a not so typical son and daughter, Louis and Ren. It is often cited as launching Shia LaBeouf’s breakout career as an actor. What was great about this series was the relationship between the two children as they go to the same middle school together and are both trying to find themselves, something most pre-teens and teens can relate. The show also featured slapstick comedy and the various ridiculous situations of the family and their friends.
This series often is cited as being “too dark” for the Disney Channel which eventually led to its cancellation. However, I cite this show as being one of the founding blocks of my love for all things in the supernatural and horror genre. “So Weird” ran from January 18, 1999 to September 28, 2001. The first two seasons follows Fiona Phillips, played by Cara DeLizia, who toured with her rock star mom Mackenzie Phillips, encountering paranormal activity along the way. The series was compared to the Fox TV series The X-Files since it took a darker tone than other Disney Channel Originals. For the third and final season, Disney replaced Cara DeLizia (due to her wanting to pursue future projects outside of Disney) with actress Alexz Johnson playing Annie Thelen. I have no doubt though, that if the show aired now, it would be a bigger hit thanks to the mainstream commercialization of vampires, werewolves, and supernatural mythology.